Why Fi?

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Google targets Google Fi at consumers and families. But it’s even better for business.

Google this week changed the name of the service, but more importantly, it announced that Fi is available on 84 additional phones, including iPhones. (The iPhone support is in beta, according to Google.)

They also recently announced an option to turn on VPN support for all connections, both cellular and WiFi.

This combination of features makes BYOD a little better for businesses. Maybe a lot better. Read my whole column here.

How to cheat at selling apps on the Apple App Store

David Barnard wrote this scathing and detailed analysis about how some developers game Apple’s iOS App Store. And he blames Apple.

Anybody know what this is?

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Anybody know what this is?

It's a gated stairway on the corner of Santa Monica and Normandie in L.A. (technically, Hollywood).

Is this an entrance to the old subway they built 90 years ago? (Additional info: There's an identical one on the other side of Santa Monica Blvd.)

UPDATE: Here’s the answer, provided by the L.A. Times via Julian Gomez in a comment below.

How to get ready for the new threats that come with 5G

Over the next few years, the pace of business will accelerate exponentially. 5G will enable the future enterprise technologies everyone is predicting and waiting for: fleets of self-driving delivery trucks, virtual and augmented reality, and a world of enterprise Internet of Things deployments — systems that will define an era that the World Economic Forum termed the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

But do we understand the 5G security threats to come? Here’s what you need to know.

Trump administration says Trump deregulation will kill, sicken and impoverish Americans.

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President Donald Trump is a dishonest and corrupt moron. But professionals in the federal government are still capable of rational analysis.

In a report covered by the Los Angeles Times, various agencies have released analysis and prediction about the cost to America of Trump’s deregulation programs.

According to these various agencies, Trump’s policies will kill 1,400 more Americans from increased air pollution, raise medical bills and increase student debt by $50 million.

Trump’s cutting immigrants off from Medicaid and other government safety net programs will increase malnutrition among children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, according to the government.

Trump’s policies will also lead to “increased rates of poverty and housing instability; and reduced productivity and educational attainment,” according to the Trump administration.

But don’t worry! The billionaires will be fine!

Was Andy Williams on crack?

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Surprisingly, the answer is: no.

The 1963 Christmas song, “It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” has some strange lyrics.

No, I’m not talking about kids “jingle belling“ (can’t picture that) or “gay happy meetings” (I CAN picture that, but my picture probably differs from Andy’s.) I’m talking about sections of the song where Christmas celebrants anticipate Christmas activities to come:

“There'll be scary ghost stories, and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.”

Nobody tells ghost stories at Christmas. Or do they?

The song was actually written for William’s TV show by Edward Pola and George Wyle. They were referencing a widely practiced tradition during the 19th Century throughout the English-speaking world where people used to tell ghost stories on Christmas Eve.

Nowadays, the closest thing we have to to Christmas-oriented ghost stories is watching “A Christmas Carol” on Netflix.

The question is: Should this tradition be brought back?

Live blogging our Thanksgiving

We’re enjoying Thanksgiving at Kevin and Nadia’s house. Amira and Nadia are doing most of the cooking (because they have most of the skill and talent), but Kevin and I are helping out as well.  Amira and Nadia did a “wet rub” of the turkeys last night using butter, olive oil and various spices Amira and I got in Morocco, Georgia and Provence.

We’re enjoying Thanksgiving at Kevin and Nadia’s house. Amira and Nadia are doing most of the cooking (because they have most of the skill and talent), but Kevin and I are helping out as well.

Amira and Nadia did a “wet rub” of the turkeys last night using butter, olive oil and various spices Amira and I got in Morocco, Georgia and Provence.

Two varieties of heirloom sweet potatoes and Kabocha squash roasted together (this was the first thing baked to free up the oven for the turkeys).

Two varieties of heirloom sweet potatoes and Kabocha squash roasted together (this was the first thing baked to free up the oven for the turkeys).

I’m in charge of rolls. This dough is white flour, whole wheat flour and whole wheat spelt flour, plus milk, an egg, honey, olive oil, butter and salt. It’s naturally leavened, and fermented all night in the fridge.

I’m in charge of rolls. This dough is white flour, whole wheat flour and whole wheat spelt flour, plus milk, an egg, honey, olive oil, butter and salt. It’s naturally leavened, and fermented all night in the fridge.

These dough nuggets will become rolls.

These dough nuggets will become rolls.

I rolled the rolls ‘cause that’s how I roll.

I rolled the rolls ‘cause that’s how I roll.

Basting the turkey hourly with a mixture of home-made chicken-bone broth, VETO wine (more on that later), garlic and olive oil.

Basting the turkey hourly with a mixture of home-made chicken-bone broth, VETO wine (more on that later), garlic and olive oil.

Amira working her magic.

Amira working her magic.

Turkeys are done!

Turkeys are done!

I’m guessing my baby granddaughter, Squishyface, did the name placeholders. (She calls me “Abu.”)

I’m guessing my baby granddaughter, Squishyface, did the name placeholders. (She calls me “Abu.”)

Nadia pulling some squashes and sweet potatoes out of the oven.

Nadia pulling some squashes and sweet potatoes out of the oven.

Rolls are done. <gratuitous Seinfeld reference> They’re real. And they’re spectacular. </gratuitous Seinfeld reference>

Rolls are done. <gratuitous Seinfeld reference> They’re real. And they’re spectacular. </gratuitous Seinfeld reference>

Nothing pairs with American Thanksgiving like  this brilliant “amber” wine from Italy .

Nothing pairs with American Thanksgiving like this brilliant “amber” wine from Italy.

Squishyface and I are super excited about Thanksgiving dinner.

Squishyface and I are super excited about Thanksgiving dinner.

Kevin made Mac N Cheese.

Kevin made Mac N Cheese.

Kevin begins to carve the turkey. (People love him; birds fear him.)

Kevin begins to carve the turkey. (People love him; birds fear him.)

Millennial hipsters. What are you gonna do?

Millennial hipsters. What are you gonna do?

Kevin carving.

Kevin carving.

Cute overload. Squishyface and her BFF, Indiana, favor my rolls. Major points scored with Yours Truly.

Cute overload. Squishyface and her BFF, Indiana, favor my rolls. Major points scored with Yours Truly.

Nadia is conspicuously not freaking out. Well done, Nadia!

Nadia is conspicuously not freaking out. Well done, Nadia!

Huge Thanksgiving fan. (And huger now than I was before dinner.)

Huge Thanksgiving fan. (And huger now than I was before dinner.)

Squishyface loves my rolls. Mission accomplished.

Squishyface loves my rolls. Mission accomplished.

Left to right: pumpkin pie; chocolate pecan pie. Whipped cream all-round.

Left to right: pumpkin pie; chocolate pecan pie. Whipped cream all-round.

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks. So thank a Mexican.

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I’m spending a lot of time learning about the history of Mexican food lately, in preparation for the December Mexico City Experience. It’s a fascinating subject, and I was thrilled this week to learn that L.A. is getting a Mexican-food museum.

The Mexicans Cortez primarily encountered in what is now Mexico City were called the Mexica people. But their food culture was the result of centuries of development by the Teotihuacanos, Olmecs, Toltecs, Maya and many others.

Present day Mexico is probably the most important historic region globally for cultivation and domestication of some of the worlds most important foods, including corn, tomatoes, chocolate, beans, avocados, vanilla, sweet potatoes, chilies, squash, amaranth, agave and more.

When the “Pilgrims” arrived in the New World, north American native populations kept domesticated turkeys. But the consumption of domesticated turkey meat by Native Americans in what is now the United States is a relatively recent phenomenon, probably only around 500 or 600 years before the first “Thanksgiving.”

It took that long for the culture of turkey eating to reach the North from Mexico, where turkeys were first domesticated by at least 800 BC.

The Mayans, Aztecs and other people’s domesticated many plant species, but few animals ones. Turkeys were the primary domesticated animal of the ancient Mayan and Aztec worlds.

The quintessential American Thanksgiving features turkey, corn, sweet potatoes, squashes and various desserts made with vanilla.

This is all Mexican food, and has been for more than two millennia.

Thank you, Mexico!

My Dad once lived in Paradise, California

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The town of Paradise, California, burned to the ground in the recent Camp fire.

I haven’t posted about this before, but in fact my Dad lived in Paradise for many years. (He moved to a town in Arizona more than a decade ago.)

It’s weird to read the news, because I have an intimate knowledge of Paradise and a lot of memories there.

My Dad died in July. And although I miss him, part of me is relieved that he didn’t have to experience the knowledge that Paradise, which was where most of his friends lived, burned down.

Here's why Google Maps is the best "social network" for businesses

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What is a social network, anyway?

To a consumer, a social network might be a place to share memes, cat photos and selfies.

But to a business, a social network is a place to bolster and defend branding, share product information, interact with customers and participate in relevant conversations with the world.

It turns out that the best place to do these things for many businesses is Google Maps!

Here’s why Google Maps is suddenly such a great “social network.”

Phrase of the moment: "enhanced scarcity"

I stumbled across this bad-ass Land Rover, which has been customized and optimized by a company called Arkonik — a company that specializes in such customization and optimization.

What caught my eye was this shameless bit of marketing-speak: “enhanced scarcity.”

In other words, they’re deliberately making fewer of them and touting that limitation as a benefit (i.e. as a reason why they can jack the price up to $150k.)

I want this Land Rover, to be sure. But sadly, the dollars in my bank account also feature “enhanced scarcity.”